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L_Monty
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SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

[ Edited ]

Hi, everyone. Welcome to the "official" First Look discussions for Max Hardberger's

Seized : A Sea Captain's Adventures Battling Scoundrels and Pirates While Recovering Stolen Ships in the World's Most Troubled Waters.  

This is for discussion of Chapter 9 through the end of the book, as well as for any detailed discussion that needs to cite events from throughout the narrative. You don't have to worry about spoilers here.  

I had two general questions, because I wanted to leave the specifics of the exciting stories to others.  

First, I notice that toward the end of the book, Mr. Hardberger mentions the end of his marriage. That stuck out for me because we recently read Tokyo Vice here in Current Events/History, in which journalist Jake Adelstein was threatened by the Japanese mafia, saw a friend die, worried for his family, then casually alluded to the breakup of his family, without ever explicitly saying that it happened. There were enough details in the book about the family to know that they were there, but it seemed like they were abstracted enough that it was tough to gauge the impact of his career. 

I don't consider myself a voyeur, but did anyone else want to know more of what happened? In earlier chapters, things seemed solid and assured, so I was interested in what changed. I especially wonder in the context of the type of work. Is divorce endemic in this field? I also notice that in tight spots, Mr. Hardberger alludes to the potential for going years without seeing his kids, and that I think made me want to know more about the real, not potential, impacts of this work.  

Another thing that struck me about the book is the way that, within the shipping community, there seem to be some universally acknowledged stereotypes about nations and, for lack of a better term, sailing identity. It didn't offend me, nor did I think it should be offensive — this seems to be a default attitude in any international business, that each nation's people tends to hew pretty closely to an identity of habit/attitude — but I wonder how other people reacted. The Haitians seem to be considered pretty sloppy, and the attitude of everyone in the book toward their upkeep of their ships seems universally derisory. How did the rest of you read these opinions?  

I'm also curious to hear from Mr. Hardberger how he thought these attitudes came about in the first place. Is it economic? Cultural? Was it a collection of anecdotes that eventually got embroidered into a stereotype?

 

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dhaupt
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

I don't consider myself a voyeur, but did anyone else want to know more of what happened? In earlier chapters, things seemed solid and assured, so I was interested in what changed. I especially wonder in the context of the type of work. Is divorce endemic in this field? I also notice that in tight spots, Mr. Hardberger alludes to the potential for going years without seeing his kids, and that I think made me want to know more about the real, not potential, impacts of this work.  

I saw the end of the marriage not as the end of love but that one of the parties couldn't abide by the lifestyle of the other one. In the end I think that Max and his wife still loved each other they just could live together. I mean I would imagine it's like someone on a tour of duty and not  seeing their loved ones for a long time, each time the reunion must get more difficult.

It was a great read and I'm glad I was a part of this.

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DSaff
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

I wasn't surprised to read about the break-up of Max's marriage. There seemed to be clues along the way. One prominent one was when his wife was having their first baby and he wasn't able to stick around for long after the birth (pg. 64). Then on page 66, when his wife was pregnant with their second child, he tried to stay home, but tired of the job he had and went back to sea. I believe his wife really meant it when she said, "You just want to get away from home," on page 89. She didn't understand his love for the sea, or his love for danger. I don't believe that Max wanted it to fail, but his love of the sea and rescuing ships beat out everything. We all make choices we have to live with, and they aren't always pleasant. I understood at the end of the book why his family wasn't prominent in the book, and was very sad to read about his daughter and the loss of everything in Katrina. Her death was like the storm that hit the Devi Parek, only the trough is much longer.

 

The biggest surprise to me was reading how freely these companies spent money. I understand that Max was "taken" by some, but he always had money to "grease" the palms of locals, supplies to keep them fed and drunk, and money for places to stay. While things got tight in Annie's Revenge, they did finally make it out. Someone is making money hand over fist here!

 

All in all, I enjoyed the book. Max, you drew me into each story and I was there with you as you "rescued" the ships. I also felt your pain when you lost someone in your life. I'm sure you have more tales to tell. Will there be another book?

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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momofprecious1
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

The ending of Max's marriage wasn't such a surprise but as I was reading the book I was wondering what his wife thought about all the traveling. I know that at the beginning she wanted him to give up the sea but even after he did he still traveled a lot checking on ships for his customer's to buy. The most shocking part of the entire book was the end where he mentioned his daughter's death. My deepest condolences to Max & his family.

 

Once again, thanks to B&N's & Mr. Hardberger for giving us the chance to read this book.

 

 

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Peppermill
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

I am wondering what kind of flak Max expects to get, if any, for publishing this book.  Are there groups or interests that will consider it an exposé worthy of opposing or discrediting?  To what extent did those considerations impact his decisions about what to include and whether to go ahead with publication?

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Max-Hardberger
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

Monty

 

There is indeed a hierarchy in ship's crews, which may or may not be fair or reflective of those nationalities' real abilities, but it exists and is reflected in the salaries paid to crews from different nations. Just as it is well-known in Europe that Egyptians work for the lowest salaries and are the least-desirable crews, so it is generally felt in the Caribbean that Haitians can't properly maintain or operate ocean cargo ships. I've known some good Haitian deck officers and engineers, but their greatest problem is that Haitian licenses aren't recognized by any other nation, and Haitians have a hard time getting the experience on larger vessels necessary for foreign licenses. Whatever the reason--and it also relates to the economics of the Haitian trade--it's commonly understood that ships owned and operated by Haitians have a hard time meeting foreign Port State Control requirements.

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Max-Hardberger
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

Donna Re the next book. . . I'm working on it now! Best regards Max
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vpenning
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

I too saw the break up coming. I am surprised that the marriage lasted as long as it did. A job of that magnitude that had him traveling in various countries for such a long time, and the author's obvious choice of it as a career over the other options he had led, me to believe that his first love would always be the sea. Most women have trouble sharing their husbands, and it is especially difficult to battle the mistress that is not one that is in human form. Added in the constant danger and threat of imprisonment, and I am not surprised that the marriage collapsed. However, I am sure that being the mother of his children,  the fear for his life will always be there.

 

The author's descriptions of the nationalities was slightly biased obviously from his knowledge of the hierarchy of the shipping crews of the world. This did not bother me so much, though I think I would have enjoyed a more rounded description of some of the minor characters.

 

The ships in the book seems to be characters in and of themselves, and not being a nautical person, it was difficult for me to grasp the true beauty he was obviously trying to convey in his descriptions of the vessels.

 

I was struck in the end, by the abruptness of the death of his daughter. I would have enjoyed a more in depth portrayal of her persona and joy on this earth. I am grieved at his loss of this part of his life as much as that of his wife.

 

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DSaff
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

Great!  =)

Max-Hardberger wrote:

Donna Re the next book. . . I'm working on it now! Best regards Max

 

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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dhaupt
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

 

Max-Hardberger wrote:

Donna Re the next book. . . I'm working on it now! Best regards Max

 

Oh Max I'll wait (im) patiently for the release of the next book.

 

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lg4154
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

That must have been hard on the wife, especially right after birth so I figured the end of the marriage was around the corner, it is an adjustment when somebody is gone for so long & even harder when they return, sadly so, a person has to adjust to that.

 

I really liked this book and I am anxious for the next book to come out.

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Psychee
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

Max, have you ever encountered or known someone who encountered a rogue wave?  I recently saw a great documentary about them -- apparently they can be as high as 95 feet, and I can't imagine how a captain could possibly prepare for such an event, as they seem to come out of nowhere.

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Bitter_Bierce
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

Hey Max,

 

  First off I'd like to say that you have my deepest condolences for your daughter.  It's a pain no father should ever have to feel.

 

  I would also like to say that I was amazed at how much crap shippers have to go through.  It seems that owning a ship is a license to get robbed.  I didn't know how easy it was for a legitimate ship to be taken and sold with little to no recourse (barring hiring an expert seizer like yourself).

 

  Finally, thank you for your insightful story.  I'll never be able to look at a freighter the same ever again.

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Bitter_Bierce
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

Hey Max,

 

  First off I'd like to say that you have my deepest condolences for your daughter.  It's a pain no father should ever have to feel.

 

  I would also like to say that I was amazed at how much crap shippers have to go through.  It seems that owning a ship is a license to get robbed.  I didn't know how easy it was for a legitimate ship to be taken and sold with little to no recourse (barring hiring an expert seizer like yourself).

 

  Finally, thank you for your insightful story.  I'll never be able to look at a freighter the same ever again.

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MSaff
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

  I was not surprised at the break up of Max's marriage.  We read during the first part of the book that their marriage appeared strong, but somehow, I believe that there were underlying problems.  Examples:  Long Separations, and his wife having a feeling of abandonment, left to raise their children on her own.  I call that single parenthood.  Not because Max is a bad husband or father, but because of the profession he has chosen.

  What did bother me was the sudden death of his daughter, prior to her wedding.  That came as a surprise.

 

 

 

L_Monty wrote:
 


First, I notice that toward the end of the book, Mr. Hardberger mentions the end of his marriage. That stuck out for me because we recently read Tokyo Vice here in Current Events/History, in which journalist Jake Adelstein was threatened by the Japanese mafia, saw a friend die, worried for his family, then casually alluded to the breakup of his family, without ever explicitly saying that it happened. There were enough details in the book about the family to know that they were there, but it seemed like they were abstracted enough that it was tough to gauge the impact of his career. 

I don't consider myself a voyeur, but did anyone else want to know more of what happened? In earlier chapters, things seemed solid and assured, so I was interested in what changed. I especially wonder in the context of the type of work. Is divorce endemic in this field? I also notice that in tight spots, Mr. Hardberger alludes to the potential for going years without seeing his kids, and that I think made me want to know more about the real, not potential, impacts of this work.  

 

 

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
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BrittanyE
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

Hearing about the end of their marriage definitely made me sad. I was amazed as time after time he went off, risking his life or at least some crazy imprisonment, and his wife seemed to handle it so well. I wonder if she didn't realize the real danger. I can only image that she felt abandoned at times, or at least insignificant. It seems like Max understood, he might have been a little amazed himself at how long she hung in there. i would guess he didn't share a lot of what happened with her, so as not to worry her. That inablility to be completely open with eachother must have slowly pulled them apart.

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krb2g
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

I was also really surprised by Karla's death. I'm so sorry for your loss.

 

On a different note, I really enjoyed the maritime law arc--for me, the driving force behind this book is a story of discovery. The action is great, and exciting, of course, but I really like the way (at least in the book) Captain Max stumbles on his ability to think creatively and get ships out of tight places. Then, after getting the maritime law degree and partnering up with Michael Bono, he makes a business out of it. I found this story really inspiring and exciting. Thank you for sharing!

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dhaupt
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

Max, I also want to add my heartfelt condolences to you about the loss of Karla, something that no parent should have to face. And I know she was a bright light in your life by how you spoke of her in the book and now that light has gone out in your heart as well as in your life. I admire the courage it took for you to write about it at all for the public to read it.

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Max-Hardberger
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

Debbie--thanks for your kind words and thoughts.

 

 

dhaupt wrote:

Max, I also want to add my heartfelt condolences to you about the loss of Karla, something that no parent should have to face. And I know she was a bright light in your life by how you spoke of her in the book and now that light has gone out in your heart as well as in your life. I admire the courage it took for you to write about it at all for the public to read it.

 

 

I had some difficulty with the decision to include it in the book, but now I'm glad I did. For the literary and artistic among us: Karla was named after her uncle Karl, who was named after Karl Gerhardt, Mark Twain's (unacknowledged) illegitimate son, who was a famous sculptor and my mother's art teacher. Karla's middle name was Yeats, after her maternal great uncle William Butler Yeats. And as an update on Alex (my son, last seen in SEIZED sailing around Lake Pontchartrain with me), we're still sailing around together. You can check out his band Young Buffalo on myspace. Best regards--Max

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Sadie1
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Re: SEIZED, by Max Hardberger, Chapters 9-End (and Whole Book Discussion)

 

Max-Hardberger wrote:

Monty

 

There is indeed a hierarchy in ship's crews, which may or may not be fair or reflective of those nationalities' real abilities, but it exists and is reflected in the salaries paid to crews from different nations. Just as it is well-known in Europe that Egyptians work for the lowest salaries and are the least-desirable crews, so it is generally felt in the Caribbean that Haitians can't properly maintain or operate ocean cargo ships. I've known some good Haitian deck officers and engineers, but their greatest problem is that Haitian licenses aren't recognized by any other nation, and Haitians have a hard time getting the experience on larger vessels necessary for foreign licenses. Whatever the reason--and it also relates to the economics of the Haitian trade--it's commonly understood that ships owned and operated by Haitians have a hard time meeting foreign Port State Control requirements.

 

 

 

Max,  These things didn't bother me being in the book, nor did I give it a second thought.  These things are very well known as you say.

 

Even degree's from other countries are not recognized here in the USA.  Take Russia for instance, the degree's come a dime a dozen.  Russia is very well known to educate their people.  They don't pay them for months and months of work at times too but yet the people are required to do specific jobs with those degree's there.  Their degree's also aren't as regimented as our degree's here in the USA.

 

We also have degree's within the USA that aren't accepted from state to state.  Additional classes and testing are required in some states versus other states.  This affects pay and status.

 

It's also very well known that degree's can be purchased in some middle eastern countries.  We Americans have been warned time and time again to beware of doctors and those certificates of degree on their walls in their offices because of this.  It's been in the news many times.

 

Suffice to say, it's not just in the shipping industry.  No, I didn't question any of the writings on such things in your book.

 

Lisa in Georgia